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Archbishop Joseph Naumann
Address to the Marian Mantle Conference
July 24, 2010

Excerpts from the Archbishop's message:
 

I'm delighted to greet you and I'm so pleased that we have this ministry of prayer going on that originated in the Archdiocese, and now touches many people in many parts of the country.

It really focuses on the power of prayer. Our Scripture readings for this Sunday are very much focused on that. In our gospel, we hear that Jesus instructs the apostles on prayer. He follows that by the parable of the man who comes in the middle of the night seeking some bread. His neighbor doesn't really want to help him, but, to get rid of him he's going to get up and give him some bread. It's one of the many instances where we see this perseverance. Jesus concludes by saying, "Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened." It could not be more perfect for what your ministry is, and the persevering in prayer.

The first parish I was at, there was a young woman who had just graduated from high school. She didn't go to college. She was working. She was exceptional. She came to the rectory shortly after I was ordained and asked for envelopes. This was not normal for 19 year old kids. She became part of our young adults group. She felt called to the vocation of Christian marriage, but there was only one problem. She never seemed to meet the right guy. Her grandmother was a great woman of faith. In this parish we had a shrine to the Infant of Prague. Her grandmother said, "You should light candles, say prayers before the Infant of Prague. He's a specialist in these matters." So the young woman did this faithfully for many, many weeks.

One Friday night I remember her coming to the rectory. She wanted her money back for all the candles she had lit to the Infant of Prague. I didn't know much then, but I knew enough to not give her money back.

I said, "What's the problem?" She said she had had this job working for a legal office. She had gotten a good evaluation and a raise just a month or so before. One of the partners, his wife or friend of his wife, wanted to go back to work. She was low person on seniority, so she lost her job.

I said, "We have these adversities, but don't give up on the Infant of Prague." Within a week she got a new job at an accounting firm. At this firm was a young man who was from the same parish. They started dating and I had their marriage not too long after that. It was easy to know what present to give them for their wedding. They got an image of the Infant of Prague.

I think prayer is the one way in which our Lord invites us, even though He doesn't need our advice; He doesn't need our counsel. But, in the mystery of His economy of salvation, He really allows Himself to be influenced—touched--by the prayers of His people. This ministry, particularly, is something that I know pleases Our Lord--this faithful prayer for the return of children and grandchildren and other family members.

St Monica is a great example to us of persevering prayer. When we think of all that St Augustine did, (St Augustine is probably the person we priests read the most in our office of reading) all that came out of his incredible ministry as a teacher of faith. All of that was really the fruit of Monica's prayer. So we just encourage you to be persevering in this prayer, and trust that even at times when you don't see the immediate fruits of your prayer that you hope for, that the lord is inviting you to go deeper into this persevering prayer. He does hear. He does answer. He does, when we knock, open the door.

It is good to be with you. I hope it is a great day for you, a renewing day. Thank you for this ministry and thank you for opening the door of hope to many parents, grandparents, and others who pray and desire the return to the faith of their sons and daughters.

I see the fruit of this sometimes when I have the privilege of talking to people who come back to the Faith. What a great gift it is. Don't give up. Don't waiver. Thank you for your fidelity and faithfulness. God bless.

 

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